Sunday, 7 July 2013

Blood Lad - Episode 1

Staz is one very modern vampire - not for him a life of sucking blood from human females; why do that when you can just lounge around in the demon world enjoying your fill of Japanese popular culture?  As far as he's concerned, he's living the dream as the boss of a territory in the demon world and all of the anime and manga he could read.

However, life suddenly promises to get a whole lot better for Staz as he receives a report from his henchmen that they've found a human girl who has somehow managed to wander into the demon world entirely by accident.  Again, blood-sucking is secondary in Staz's mind as he salivates over the prospect of meeting an actual living, breathing human... and a girl nonetheless!

Unfortunately, this chance encounter is cut short by some trouble in Staz's territory, and by the time he's dealt with it he returns to find that a remnant of that plant-based mischief has eaten his precious new lady-friend Fuyumi, who is now little more than a naked ghost.  Far from impressed by this development, Staz swears to return Fuyumi's body to her - an idea that only becomes more appealing once it's clear that this will also involve Staz visiting the human world.  So, off we go into the unknown, as Staz and Fuyumi begin their adventure to bring the latter back to life.

Blood Lad arguably occupies an unfortunate place coming so soon after the marvelous Hataraku Maou-sama, a position not helped by the fact that self-referential otaku comedy has also been done to death by this point in time.  Still, this opening episode does what it can to make the whole thing appealing - a little fan service here, a carefully controlled smattering of otaku humour that works just about perfectly, and an oddly likeable cast.  Perhaps these positives will be enough to sustain it even in the face of low-budget animation and a tendency (in this opener at least) to rush through things to move the plot forward - only time will tell whether the series can progress to new heights or at least keep a level of consistency to its comedy and narrative, but as opening gambits go this was a mildly fun and inoffensive little slice of comedy if nothing else that has at least managed to quickly set up its main premise without too much fuss.

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